Yes, as I’m sure you are all aware, it is precisely 10 years to the day since Darren Williams scored the winner against some Yorkshire club from up the road who seem to think they are from the North East – 1-0 to the Sunderland and the smog monsters were virtually relegated. And it looked like we might be safe….well at least it did that day.
How do I remember this so clearly? Well it’s also my 10th wedding anniversary today and some things just seem to stick in your mind.
I not sure how many times Darren Williams has had a mention in a groom’s wedding speech but he did that day and, partly because of that, in my eyes Dazza could do no wrong.
* Picture: Courtesy A Love Supreme
Now don’t start screaming at your computer screens. I’m not trying to claim that he was the greatest player ever to wear the Red and White stripes.
But I do think he was often used as a scapegoat and various sections of the crowd used to get on his back.
And Dazza, for me, was class and that was because he was a great squad player.
He wasn’t the best right back we had, or the best central midfielder, or the best centre-back.
But if he was asked to play in any position, he always gave his all.
Christ, he probably wouldn’t have moaned if he was told he was playing in goal. He just always gave 100 per cent and for this I appreciated him, plus the fact that he always – and I mean ALWAYS – was the last player off the pitch having spent several hours personally thanking each fan who had travelled that day.
Or so it seemed. He always applauded the travelling fans and made you feel that you were appreciated.
A habit that apparently dies hard – and because of this, he has the nickname “Clapper” at Hartlepool.*
So then raise a glass and remember that goal and remember Dazza as a fine, fine servant to the Red & White cause. And of course, congratulations on your recent promotion with the monkey hangers.
Better sign of now. Where will I find a florists open at this time ……………
* Salut! Sunderland note: a variation of the nickname – Dazza or Darren Handclap – originated during his Sunderland days, certainly in A Love Supreme and perhaps among the wider fan base.